The streaking Phillies continued their push for a wild-card playoff spot, completing a sweep of the Marlins with their seventh victory in a row.
The Marlins became hot under the collar early in Wednesday’s game against the Phillies. By the end, though, they were quieted by yet another lethargic loss.
The red-hot Phillies, who have risen from the ashes to make a late-season move in the wild-card race, completed a series sweep with a 3-1 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
Cliff Lee held the Marlins to one unearned run over seven innings, and Jimmy Rollins pounded a Josh Johnson fastball into the right-field bleachers in the seventh for a two-run shot that proved to be the deciding blow.
“Wrong pitch to the wrong guy, and they win the game,” said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen after watching his team lose to the Phillies for the third day in a row.
The Marlins had a chance to score early against Lee when he gave up a bat-shattering infield hit to Giancarlo Stanton and walked Carlos Lee to open the second inning.
But Justin Ruggiano struck out looking on a 2-2 pitch that appeared to be well inside, angering the outfielder. Ruggiano squawked at home-plate umpire Clint Fagan as he walked away from home plate before being ejected after entering the dugout.
“I talked to him at the plate, and as I’m walking in, all I said was ... it wasn’t anything too offensive, I know that,” Ruggiano said. “The coach was basically who I was talking to when I walked in [the dugout]. I was saying, ‘If he gets that pitch all day, we’re in trouble,’ or something like that. I had a feeling [the umpire] was tracking me all the way back to the dugout and waiting for me to say one more thing.”
Ruggiano said his opinion of the pitch didn’t change after he had a chance to watch the replay inside the clubhouse.
“The guy pitching is pretty good already, and when the strike zone widens, it makes it even harder to hit him,” Ruggiano said. “Runner in scoring position. Nobody out. It’s a big at-bat, even if it’s in the second inning. I try to remain respectful, and I understand it was hard to see [Wednesday]. Sometimes you have to voice your opinion.”
Ruggiano became the second Marlins player ejected this season. John Buck was tossed on July 2.
After Ruggiano was called out and then thrown out, Buck bounced into a fielder’s choice and Donnie Murphy struck out looking to end the second without any harm done to Lee.
The Marlins took advantage of back-to-back fielding errors in the sixth by Rollins and Cliff Lee when Carlos Lee drove in the game’s first run with a single. But the Phillies answered with a run in their half of the sixth on John Mayberry Jr.’s single.
Murphy, who was playing third for the Marlins, sustained a concussion on the play when he was struck in the head by Chase Utley as the Phillies base runner was sliding into the bag. Murphy remained in the game to bat once more before exiting because of dizziness.
Johnson, perhaps benefitting by shadows that made it difficult for hitters on both teams, didn’t allow a hit until Rollins singled to open the sixth. But Rollins hurt him even worse in the seventh when he belted the two-run shot.
“It was a fastball that was supposed to be away, and it was down and in, where he wants the ball,” Johnson said.